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How To Stay Out Of Debt For Good

Updated on September 24, 2012


Sometimes it seems like it's all too easy to get IN debt but how do you get OUT of debt and get out of it fast?

Well, unfortunately there are no easy or really instantaneous solutions but there are some great ways that you can get out of debt relatively fast.

It's important to remember though how you got here/there in the first place and to NOT repeat the process.

Once you learn to stay out of debt or manage your debt, try to prevent it from becoming a recurring nightmare.

Following these simple tips can put you on the way to financial happiness and keep you there for the rest of your life.

Learning to manage debt is the key to getting out of debt and staying out of debt!

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SIMPLE WAYS TO GET OUT OF DEBT AND STAY THAT WAY

  • You can't spend more than you make.  Do the math.....it doesn't add up.  You have to learn that you can't have everything that you want or at least not everything instantly.   It's called discipline and it isn't a 4-letter word.
  • Throw out or hide your credit cards.  If you're addicted to spending or Internet browsing only to find yourself ordering and ordering, take the cards away from yourself or from each other.  If you don't stop spending, the cycle will never stop.
  • Set up a plan of attack.  List all your debts and see which ones are the highest but see which ones have the highest APR (annual percentage rate).  Blast those accounts first.  You won't be able to pay them off if you only pay the minimum amount each month.  Take an extra chunk of change and throw it repeatedly at the bill that is the highest.  Once you get that paid off, hit the next highest and so on.  
  • Pay twice per month.  Paying your bill every 2 weeks regardless of the amount paid will help decrease the bills faster by lowering the interest that you're paying.
  • Call your credit cards and ask for a lower rate.  It never hurts to ask they say and it's true.  You also won't know if you don't ask!  All things in life are negotiable, including debt and interest rates.
  • Card transfer loans.  You can transfer your credit card debt to another card but make sure you go for a card with 0% transfer rate.  That way you won't be caught in the vicious cycle of wasted money on interest.  And make double sure that the card you're transferring to will cover ALL your debt or you may get really screwed and end up paying more rather than less!
  • Try to get a personal loan.  Remember that if you get a personal loan, you'll still have the debt but if you can lower the interest rate, it makes sense to pay off outstanding loans or credit card debt....but ONLY if you get a lower rate and can still throw money at the debt to pay it down.
  • Sell your stuff.  Look into selling on CraigsList, ebay or Amazon for starters.  Have a huge garage sale or put ads in the paper and get rid of things you do not need and that could bring in money.  Use the money to pay off debt not go out and celebrate!
  • Late fees.  Paying late fees on car payments or any bill that you have is like throwing money down the commode and flushing it.  Pay attention to your bills and pay them on time...and if you can figure out the cash flow, pay them twice during the month instead of once.
  • Less is more.  Always look for the LOWEST interest rate on EVERYTHING.  Check online for the best deals out there and if a company won't match it, don't go with them.  Use your knowledge to negotiate for lower prices and rates on everything.  If someone is offering it, someone else is probably going to match it.
  • Home equity loans.  Don't get a home equity loan to pay off your debt.  You're tapping into your savings by doing that and you'll be no better off in the long run. 
  • Using 401(k)s to pay off debt is the same as home equity...don't do it.  Again, not a good idea because that's your savings.  Leave things that are assets alone and pay off the debt any other way. 
  • If you do not have enough money, think about making more.  Until you get your debt paid off, it might be that everyone will have to help out, make sacrifices and sometimes you just can't rob one envelope to pay another.  The solution?  Make more money or get a second job.

Debt Management for a Lifetime

WHAT IS GOOD DEBT?

Mortgages and student loans.....they usually have lower interest rates.  They build our credit history.  You will notice car loans are not listed as "good debt".  See below!

WHAT IS BAD DEBT?

Credit card debt is only good for credit reports and credit scores. 

Credit card debt is never "good" debt if you're not paying it off regularly. 

Car payments are perhaps somewhere in between and usually a necessary evil but if you can afford it, buying a used car and paying cash is the way to go to avoid debt.

SAVINGS TIP

For every dime that you prove that you save being frugal or reducing debt, etc., take that money and sock it into a separate account (preferably an online checking or savings account that will earn you even more interest). 

You'll be surprised at how successful saving money can make you feel.  It also teaches you the value of what your money can mean over time and how it can be put to good or better use.

In summary, there is no easy way or way lacking some pain to get out of debt once you're there. 

Sacrifices are usually not pleasant and that's why they call them sacrifices. 

That being said, the rewards of learning how to stay out of debt are immeasurable. 

Leading a financially healthy life is the greatest reward you can give yourself and your loved ones because they lead to confidence and relaxation in knowing that you can afford whatever you decide to buy in the future. 

Hoping that these helpful hints on getting out of debt are just that....helpful....and wishing you every financial success in the future!

Comments

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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Hanna!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Splendidly written hub with solid good tips.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much for stopping by, GBeckhamfan and for leaving such a nice comment!

    • profile image

      GBeckhamfan 

      7 years ago

      This is a great hub and is very helpful to anyone who has debt that they don't know what to do with or where to start. Thank you.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      LLW - I figure getting out of debt shouldn't be easy if we truly want to learn from our mistakes but then after getting out of debt, I find that staying debt free is kind of a fun challenge. I haven't been in debt for many years (since I was a young miss starting out) and once I learned my lessons, it's been a smooth ride...thank goodness! Now I like the challenge of staying solvent always and still getting what I want out of life.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Great ideas here--not all "fun" or "easy," but important nonetheless.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Wayne and I couldn't agree more. Though sometimes even if we teach them well, they still have to learn for themselves. Our oldest son is like that but I think he's figuring it out....gosh I hope so. I can't afford any more gray hair!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      One of the greatest gifts that we can give our children is an education in money management early in life...it is something that will follow them forever. Debt destroys lives, marriages, and potential. It is a cancer of sorts that we have to learn to live with very cautiously. Thanks for sharing Audrey...good advice! WB

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Katie for adding your comment to my hub - and I hope so, too - we know a lot of people who are struggling and they have so many debts...including my son. I shudder to think about it to tell the truth!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Awesome, We can all learn a thing or two from your very pratical debt management, how to get out of debt and stay out, lets hope this is the new trend rising!

      :) Katie

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      BJ - Think it's more of the same...that idiocy I mean idiom we call the English language? And shouldn't it be spelled detter?

      Thanks as always for taking the time to read my contributions!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Your list of simple ways to stay out of debt should be posted on every spender's forehead so they will be sure to see it.

      Just wonderin. Why do we not pronounce the b in debt but do pronounce the b in debit. Aren't they sorta the same?

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Bayoulady - Thanks so much for your comment - and I think that is totally right on! After the holidays, many times it's another episode of oh no - what did we do?

      Prasetio - Thanks so much. Glad that it made sense - I'm truly not a 'numbers' girl. My husband is an accountant and sometimes I have a hard time understanding things but I think I get this!

      Chrisagbe - Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate so much your kind words.

    • Chrisagbe profile image

      Chrisagbe 

      7 years ago

      This is systematic, factual and educative. A lot of people sure will benefit from this.I will certainly want to learn more from you. An excellent hub, i must say, Stay blessed and let's keep on talking, my Friend

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information and very inspiring us. I love all your tips here. Audrey, thanks for writing this hub. I am glad to know this from you. Personally I love anything related with financial management. So, I begin with something easy to do. Rating up. Have a great day!

      Blessing, Prasetio

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 

      7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Well timed! The after Christmas bills start coming in, and many families realize that they MUST take control. I have not credit card debt now. not since 1994! It is a wonderful feeling.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Lela - That is so cool! I think that's some great input and I feel the same way. I totally agree with your 'fate worse than debt'....that's why we are friends I think! Same sense of humor, same ideas and values.

      You're right too about the 'extra' money - so often we just go out and blow it. That's a super point to make!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      7 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      I practice all these tips and except for my car, I don't splurge on anything anymore. Just NOT buying stuff will save you a ton of money. If you don't need it or really, really, really want it, don't buy it in the first place!

      I used to have economical used cars, but this is the last car I expect to buy, so I splurged for a big luxury car like I've never owned before. I budgeted for it and made sure I could afford the payments and it will be paid for in 2.5 more years. Just about when I plan to retire. I may end up having to buy another car before I die, but I will make sure I can afford it first! I've also co-ordinated all my other debts to be paid off when I retire. Otherwise, I would not be able to and that would be a fate worse than debt! LOL.

      Don't forget to use "found" money to pay off debt. If you get a bonus on your job, put it towards debt. If you inherit something, sell it and pay off debt. Do whatever you have to do to pay off your debt. And you are right, don't make more debt!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Darski! I hear ya - it seems our money has to go further and further and it's not even Lycra!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Really a great job, excellent hub...this is so important for so many people, they should teach this is school, then college, I wish I have enough money to manage...rate up and good luck my friend....love & peace darski

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